The International Organization for Migration, IOM has said that nearly 20 thousand migrants have been rescued from the Sahara desert in Niger over the past three years.
The intergovernmental organization said that on June 15 alone it rescued 406 migrants from 14 West African countries including seven women and four children.
The migrants walked for hours under the scorching desert sun with no water. The UN organisation said the most recent rescues had mainly included people from Ivory Coast, Guinea-Conakry and Mali.
The latest operation was IOM's 189th humanitarian mission into Niger's Tenere desert, the most remote desert in the Sahara. The vast plain of sand spans an area larger than Japan.
The flow of migrants, often heading for Libya with the ultimate aim of reaching Europe, has lessened considerably since a 2017 peak. The IOM said, trucks carrying migrants frequently breakdown in the desert or become lost, with smugglers sometimes abandoning people to their fates.
A representative of the organization said, no one knows exactly how many migrants have died often due to hunger or thirst, attempting to cross the Sahara. (AIR NEWS)